Psalm 18:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

King James Bible
The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

American Standard Version
The cords of Sheol were round about me; The snares of death came upon me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The sorrows of hell encompassed me: and the snares of death prevented me.

English Revised Version
The cords of Sheol were round about me: the snares of death came on me.

Webster's Bible Translation
The sorrows of hell encompassed me: the snares of death seized me.

Psalm 18:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The phrase קדּם פּני, antevertere faciem alicujus, means both to appear before any one with reverence, Psalm 95:2 (post-biblical: to pay one's respects to any one) and to meet any one as an enemy, rush on him. The foe springs like a lion upon David, may Jahve - so he prays - as his defence cross the path of the lion and intercept him, and cast him down so that he, being rendered harmless, shall lie there with bowed knees (כּרע, of the lion, Genesis 49:9; Numbers 24:9). He is to rescue his soul from the ungodly חרבּך. This חרבך, and also the ידך which follows, can be regarded as a permutative of the subject (Bצttcher, Hupfeld, and Hitzig), an explanation which is commended by Psalm 44:3 and other passages. But it is much more probable that more exact definitions of this kind are treated as accusatives, vid., on Psalm 3:5. At any rate "sword" and "hand" are meant as the instruments by which the פּלּט, rescuing, is effected. The force of פּלּטה extends into Psalm 17:14, and mimatiym (with a Chateph under the letter that is freed from reduplication, like ממכון, Psalm 33:14) corresponds to מרשׁע, as ידך to חרבּך. The word ממתים (plural of מת, men, Deuteronomy 2:34, whence מתם, each and every one), which of itself gives no complete sense, is repeated and made complete after the interruption cause by the insertion of ידך ה, - a remarkable manner of obstructing and then resuming the thought, which Hofmann (Schriftbeweis ii. 2. 495) seeks to get over by a change in the division of the verse and in the interpunction. חלד, either from חלד Syriac to creep, glide, slip away (whence חלדּה a weasel, a mole) or from חלד Talmudic to cover, hide, signifies: this temporal life which glides by unnoticed (distinct from the Arabic chald, chuld, an abiding stay, endless duration); and consequently חדל, limited existence, from חדל to have an end, alternates with חלד as a play upon the letters, comp. Psalm 49:2 with Isaiah 38:11. The combination מחלד מתים resembles Psalm 10:18; Psalm 16:4. What is meant, is: men who have no other home but the world, which passeth away with the lust thereof, men ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, or υίοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου. The meaning of the further description חלקם בּחיּים (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:9) becomes clear from the converse in Psalm 16:5. Jahve is the חלק of the godly man; and the sphere within which the worldling claims his חלק is החיּים, this temporal, visible, and material life. This is everything to him; whereas the godly man says: טּוב חסדּך מחיּים, Psalm 63:4. The contrast is not so much between this life and the life to come, as between the world (life) and God. Here we see into the inmost nature of the Old Testament faith. To the Old Testament believer, all the blessedness and glory of the future life, which the New Testament unfolds, is shut up in Jahve. Jahve is his highest good, and possessing Him he is raised above heaven and earth, above life and death. To yield implicitly to Him, without any explicit knowledge of a blessed future life, to be satisfied with Him, to rest in Him, to hide in Him in the face of death, is the characteristic of the Old Testament faith. חלקם בחיים expresses both the state of mind and the lot of the men of the world. Material things which are their highest good, fall also in abundance to their share. The words "whose belly Thou fillest with Thy treasure" (Chethb: וּצפינך the usual participial form, but as a participle an Aramaising form) do not sound as though the poet meant to say that God leads them to repentance by the riches of His goodness, but on the contrary that God, by satisfying their desires which are confined to the outward and sensuous only, absolutely deprives them of all claim to possessions that extend beyond the world and this present temporal life. Thus, then, צפוּן in this passage is used exactly as צפוּנים is used in Job 20:26 (from צפן to hold anything close to one, to hold back, to keep by one). Moreover, there is not the slightest alloy of murmur or envy in the words. The godly man who lacks these good things out of the treasury of God, has higher delights; he can exclaim, Psalm 31:20 : "how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up (צפנתּ) for those who fear Thee!" Among the good things with which God fills the belly and house of the ungodly (Job 22:17.) are also children in abundance; these are elsewhere a blessing upon piety (Psalm 127:3., Psalm 128:3.), but to those who do not acknowledge the Giver they are a snare to self-glorifying, Job 21:11 (cf. Wisdom Job 4:1). בּנים is not the subject, but an accusative, and has been so understood by all the old translators from the original text, just as in the phrase שׁבע ימים to be satisfied with, or weary of, life. On עוללים vid., on Psalm 8:3. יתר (from יתר to stretch out in length, then to be overhanging, towering above, projecting, superfluous, redundant) signifies here, as in Job 22:20, riches and the abundance of things possessed.

Psalm 18:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The sorrows, or, cords

Psalm 86:13 For great is your mercy toward me: and you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Psalm 88:3-8,15-17 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws near to the grave...

Acts 2:24 Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.

snares

Ecclesiastes 9:12 For man also knows not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare...

Cross References
Luke 21:20
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.

Psalm 40:12
For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.

Psalm 55:4
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Psalm 116:3
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.

Proverbs 13:14
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Jonah 2:2
saying, "I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.

Jonah 2:6
at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

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